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National League Preview from The Sports Network

Tuesday, August 7th (All times eastern)

Arizona Diamondbacks (55-54) at Pittsburgh Pirates (62-46), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Arizona - Patrick Corbin (3-4, 3.60) Pittsburgh - Jeff Karstens (4-2, 3.70)

(Sports Network) - Surging right-hander Jeff Karstens can get the Pittsburgh Pirates another step closer to first place tonight when he takes the mound against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the second of four games at PNC Park.

The Pirates, who trail only the Cincinnati Reds in the National League's Central Division, got a game closer Monday with a 4-0 defeat of the Diamondbacks in the series opener.

The Reds lost at Milwaukee, trimming their lead to 3 1/2 games.

Pittsburgh's Erik Bedard (6-12) allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings against Arizona, striking out five and not issuing a walk as he bounced back from a rough outing against the Cubs on July 30.

It was just his second win in his last eight starts.

"I was throwing all my pitches for strikes, so that always helps," Bedard said. "That's what you try to do. Make some good pitches, get some outs and get the hitters back out there."

Andrew McCutchen went 2-for-4 and scored twice and Gaby Sanchez and Neil Walker each drove in a run for the Pirates, who are 13-6 over their last 19 games. Rod Barajas and Travis Snider had an RBI apiece in the win.

Wade Miley (12-7) allowed one run on six hits and struck out two over six innings to absorb the loss.

"They played very good, they executed the hit-and-run very well. We had one chance and got (Goldschmidt) over but (Montero) struck out," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "They outplayed us, they out-executed us. It hurts, but we need to find a way to get back on a good run."

Paul Goldschmidt had the only two hits for the Diamondbacks, who have dropped three straight tilts.

Karstens, a former draft pick of the New York Yankees, started the season at 0-2 through his initial four starts but has gone 4-0 in six outings since while trimming his earned run average to 3.70.

He allowed three hits and a run in five innings of his last start, a 3-1 win at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 1.

The Pirates are 5-1 in his last six starts and 7-3 overall with him on the mound in 2012.

Karstens has split two career decisions against the Diamondbacks, including a 3-2 loss in April after he gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings.

Arizona goes with rookie lefty Patrick Corbin, who'll make his seventh big- league start in his 12th appearance.

The 23-year-old was a 4-0 winner over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 1 after tossing six scoreless innings of two-hit ball with two walks and five strikeouts.

He's not lost since July 1 at Milwaukee, picking up a win and a save in four subsequent outings while lowering his ERA to 3.60.

Corbin, who began the season with four losses in five decisions, has never faced the Pirates.

The Diamondbacks have won 60 of 100 games between the teams since they began playing in 1998, though Pittsburgh won two of three in their lone previous 2012 series in Phoenix in April.

08/07 10:39:47 ET